We study the initial value problem for a semi-linear dissipative plate equation in n-dimensional space. We observe that the dissipative structure of the linearized equation is of the regularity-loss type. This means that we have the optimal decay estimates of solutions under the additional regularity assumption on the initial data. This regularity-loss property causes the difficulty in solving the nonlinear problem. For our semi-linear problem, this difficulty can be overcome by introducing a set of time-weighted Sobolev spaces, where the time-weights and the regularity of the Sobolev spaces are determined by our regularity-loss property. Consequently, under smallness condition on the initial data, we prove the global existence and optimal decay of the solution in the corresponding Sobolev spaces.
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